AN INCEPTION WORKSHOP REPORT Regional Climate Risk Mitigation Project in the Himalayan Region (RCRRP) Introduction: The UNDP Bhutan conducted a one-day Inception Workshop on 14th January 2010 at the College of Natural Resources, in Lobeysa, Wangdue as part of the Regional Climate Risk Reduction Project (RCRP) in the Himalayan Region. The project, funded by European Commission for Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) under its Disaster Preparedness initiative and implemented by UNDP’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR), aims to develop and implement comprehensive risk management strategies in the Himalayan region to reduce the risks faced by mountain communities and to mitigate impacts of hydro-meteorological hazards. The main purpose of the workshop was to introduce/explain the project activities and components to all relevant stakeholders in Bhutan and solicit views, suggestions and inputs to fine-tune the implementation process .. Representatives1 from the Central and District level Government agencies, technical agencies, non-governmental organizations, international and regional organizations like Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR), South-West and South Asia Office and UNDP Bhutan participated during the event. Dasho Kuenzang N Namgyel, Punakha Dzongdag (Chief District Administrator) was the Chief Guest and graced the opening ceremony. Opening Ceremony: At the opening ceremony, Mr. Rajeev Issar, Team Manager, Regional Climate Risk Reduction Project, UNDP BCPR outlined the rationale for for a synergized and concerted effort by all national nodal agencies to address the increasing climate-induced hydro- meteorological hazard and the need for greater regional coordination. He said “we have never seen cyclones travel far into mainland, away from the coastal region and cause so much damage as in the case ofCyclone Aila as the past decade has seen intenser cyclonic storms in the Bay of Bengal.” the rationale for the Regional Climate Risk Reduction Project (RCRP) in the Himalayan Region stems from the increasing numbers, frequency and intensity of climate-induced hydro-meteorological hazard. He also mentioned about new hazards being introduced due to the processes of climate change and variability. . The broad framework of the Regional project was also explained to the gathering. He concluded his address by highlighting the importance of a synergistic approach and felt that the workshop presented an opportunity to identify areas of collaboration, build upon existing strengths and capacities, needs and gaps that can be jointly resolved by combined efforts of all concerned stakeholders, so as to achieve the objectives of Regional Climate Risk Reduction Project (RCRP) in the Himalayan Region. In his opening address, the Chief Guest, Dasho Kuenzang N Namgyel mentioned that he was pleased to learn that such an initiative is being led by UNDP and ECHO and that he was happy to be part of the process. The receding glaciers would impact the country’s water resources and Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs) in particular would destroy settlements downstream. Dasho said “People in almost five dzongkhags will be affected in case of a GLOF and Punakha and Wangdue would be the first victims.” Therefore, Dasho highlighted the urgent need for better preparedness and more importantly an effective early warning system for the inhabitants downstream. Given the importance of socio-economic activities and development taking places along the valley and the importance of water resources as a key resource, Dasho emphasized that it was important for us to integrate development plans with risk reduction initiatives. 1 List of participants attached in Annex 1. Moreover, the shift to address climate induced hydro-meteorological hazards holistically than GLOF alone was appraised. He also highlighted that the Regional Project will contribute to on-going preparedness, mitigation and risk reduction initiatives that are being undertaken both by the Government and other development partners. In conclusion, Dasho urged all participants for active and fruitful deliberations. The formal opening of the workshop ended with a brief presentation on the RCRRP project goals, outputs and activities with respect to second phase of the project. Presentations: After the opening ceremony, presentations by the nodal agencies on topics mentioned below and discussion followed: 1. Presentation on lessons learnt- strengths, weakness and gaps on response during Cyclone Aila by Ms Karma Doma Tshering, Chief Programme Officer, DDM, MoHCA. 2. Group discussion and presentation on Hazard Vulnerability Risk (HVR) assessment on Climate-induced hydro-meteorological hazards/disaster by the participants. 3. Presentation on Glacier Inventory and GLOF Assessment at headwaters of Mangde Chu by Dr. Jiro Komori (JICA/JST) and Mr. Phuntsho Tshering, Department of Geology and Mines, MoEA. 4. Presentation on status of the GLOF Early Warning System under GLOF FSP project by Mr. Karma Dupchu, Hydro-Met Services Division (HMSD), Department of Energy, MoEA. Discussions/suggestions/recommendations: After each presentation, participants had intense discussion where they raised queries, gave comments and suggestions. The summarized discussions held on each session are given below in bullets. 1. Presentation on the RCRRP project goals, outputs and activities by Mr. Kinley Penjor, UNDP. Most participants recognized the criticality of the areas sought to be addressed by the Project and felt that some of the project activities and their sustainability will require a longer time-frame than envisaged under the project. The forum also felt that the Regional Project should prioritize activities requiring immediate attention and greater focus and implement these in a phased manner. Some of the activities seemed to be very ambitious when compared to the capacity of implementing agencies. It was suggested that activities be broken down into smaller parts considering implementing capability of the concerned nodal agencies. There is also a need for better consolidation, coordination and for Regional Project to work very closely with GLOF-FSP and other players such as DDM, DGM and HMSD. There was consensus on the need to strengthen technical and administrative competencies of key agencies to carry out some of the activities taking into account sustainability and replication of such activities on a wider scale. 2. Presentation on lessons learnt- strengths, weakness and gaps on response during Cyclone Aila by Ms Karma Doma Tshering, Chief Programme Officer, DDM, MoHCA. The forum was informed that the flood water level reached during flooding caused by Cyclone Aila was higher than the water level during 1994 GLOF. Experiences suggest that the response, early warning and re-habilitation were not so coherent. During emergency times, Dzongkhags were left responding to queries of different agencies/departments. Hence, it was urged to follow a standard procedure for any information flow and response mechanism. Since there were no well established emergency operation centers (EOCs), coordination was an issue. Thus, establishment of EOCs were also tabled as a priority and that DDM should request the cabinet to issue a directive for operationalizing EOCs. The forum discussion also saw the need to strengthen communication, early warning and search and rescue. It was also agreed during the discussion that there was a need to develop a proper and standard rapid assessment guideline at all levels. Experiences shared also suggest on the need to institute Dzongkhag Emergency Fund. 3. Group discussion and presentation on HVR assessment on Climate-induced hydro- meteorological hazards/disaster by the participants. In this session, the participants were divided into 3 groups based on their relevance and proficiency on the subject2. The presentations were based on the group work done on the topic. Group 1: Hazard database compilation and building a hazard database The group noted that there is a need to develop a comprehensive format for data compilation and for DDM to take lead on coordination and operation. The members agreed to further develop the data compilation template which was shared to the forum by Mr. Rajeev Issar. The group and the participants confirm that the data should be sourced from agencies such as the National Statistical Bureau, nodal agencies, media reports, survey and sommunity sonsultation and stakeholders consultation workshops. 2 See annex 2 for group members and topics for group discussion. The guiding points for group discussion were also provided. The group and the participants agreed that village focal persons, Gewog Disaster Management Committee, District Emergency Operation Centers (DEOC) and National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC) should anchor hazard database at village, Gewog, district and national level respectively. In order to make the disaster website dynamic, participants felt the website should be regularly updated and include other features such as discussion forum, establishment of online linkages, other parameters such as socio-economic and cultural sites etc. The group and the participants also highlighted on training needs at various levels on data collection, analysis and interpretation. Group 2: Hazard Vulnerability Risk (HVR) Assessment on hydro-meteorological hazards The discussion charted parameters such as frequency, intensity, spatial distribution- population distribution and infrastructure, coping capacity of stakeholders and the affected areas for HVR assessment. Two layers of assessment have been suggested to carry out HVR assessment. First layer of course assessment to select a smaller catchment for detailed HVR assessment. The forum noted that there was lack of technical competencies within the country (Bhutan) to carry out HVR assessment. Hence, there is a need to bring in expertise to carry out the assessment. However, Department of Geology and Mines, Department of Energy, Department of Roads, Ministry of Agriculture, National Environment Commission and National Land Commission were identified as agencies/institutions that could assist while carrying out the assessment. Integration of into National Disaster Risk Management Framework, incorporation into National Action Plans and advocacy workshop to all relevant agencies were identified as some of the modes for disseminating HVR assessment reports. This will help inform the development process at various levels and make it risk averse. Besides these, media in all forms have also been suggested as a mode for bringing risk assessments closer to communities. The group and the participants stated the availability of decade long climate data with some of the nodal agencies and emphasized on the need for a climate extreme data analysis, development of HVR assessment system and usage of GIS and Remote Sensing for hazard assessment. Also on capacity needs, they mentioned about risk assessment trainings, hydrological modeling and climate forecasting. Group 3: Community-based Climate Risk Reduction, Mitigation, Preparedness and Intervention Building In terms of community based climate risk reduction and preparedness, the group considered formation of community disaster management committee and sensitization on various preparedness measures. Formation of disaster management teams such as search and rescue, first aid and medical responders and evacuation were also considered necessary. Since the Royal Bhutan Police were always on the forefront in times of emergencies, the discussion surrounded on building their professional capacity for search and rescue. It was suggested that the community members should form search and rescue task forces at community level, while armed force to be part of the core search and rescue team at district level. Besides these, they also confirmed the need for mock drill sessions at community level. Various mitigation measures proposed by the group during the discussion are hazard zonation, afforestation, embankment and resettlement. The establishment of a community mitigation fund was also considered. 4. Presentation on Glacier Inventory and GLOF Assessment at headwaters of Mangde Chu by Dr. Jiro Komori (JICA/JST) and Mr. Phuntsho Tshering, Department of Geology and Mines, MoEA. The forum agreed that the glacial inventory carried out by ICIMOD in 2001-2002 was outdated and there is a need for updating. The Regional Project team was requested to design activities feeding into current DGM and JICA/JST work on glacial inventory in Bhutan. The forum was alarmed by some of their findings. The findings suggest that there could be more potentially hazardous glacial lakes than 25 as reported earlier by ICIMOD. The study also showed and confirmed signs of a past GLOF along Mangde chu. Under the project, GLOF hazard zonation for Mangde chu and setting up of automatic weather station has already been factored. 5. Presentation on status of the GLOF Early Warning System under GLOF FSP project by Mr. Karma Dupchu, Hydro-Met Services Division (HMSD), Department of Energy, MoEA. The project “Reducing Climate Change-Induced Risks and Vulnerabilities from Glacier Lake Outburst Flood in the Punakha-Wangdue and Chamkhar Valleys” funded by UNDP-GEF under LDC funding has three components which are looked after by three different divisions/departments. The component of Thorthomi lake water level lowering is handled by DGM, while early warning system (EWS) installation in Punakha-Wangdue valley by HMSD, DOE and the component of strengthening of disaster management and early warning awareness component by DDM. Division of labour to achieve targets is good. However, the forum emphasized on technical assistance to DDM while carrying out awareness programs. The forum repeatedly emphasized on the need to have both manual and automated warning system. Manual system as argued was to supplement in times of mechanical failure. The workshop agreed on the need to build capacity of both technical agencies and community levels. Capacity in terms of technical competencies of the technicians, equipments and community orientation were highlighted as important components. The Regional Project was requested to provide assistance in terms of these capacity development initiatives and to work in close collaboration with DDM. The forum was informed that HMSD would be able to install some components of early warning system at Punakha and Wangdue Valley by June-July 2010, so as to facilitate DDM to carry out awareness programs thereafter. The forum also discussed issues related to making a dynamic warning system not just for the country but also address trans-boundary issues too as the neighboring countries are equally at risk. The forum was informed by HMSD about the budget shortage of Nu. 1-2 million for complete installation of EWS all along the valley. Conclusion: Mr. Karma L Rapten of UNDP Bhutan moderated the workshop for the whole day. He concluded by thanking all participants for their active participation. He also informed the forum that a consolidated Regional Work-plan would be sent to them at the earliest and requested for active collaboration of various agencies and stakeholders concerned. Annex: 1 Regional Climate Risk Mitigation Project in the Himalayan Region (RCRRP) List of participants who attended the Inception workshop held on 14 th January 2010 at CNR, Lobeysa, Wangdue. 1. Dasho Kuenzang N Namgyel, Punakha Dzongkhag. 2. Dr. Jamba Gyeltshen, College of Natural Resources (CNR), Lobeysa 3. Major Tashi Tenzin, Royal Bhutan Army 4. Major Namgay Dorji, Royal Bhutan Police 5. Mr. Gyembo Dorji, Disaster Focal person, Ministry of Health. 6. Mr. Sonam Darjey, National Land Commission 7. Mr. Kinley Gyeltshen, DFO, Wangduephodrang Dzongkhag 8. Mr. Chimmi Wangchuk, DEO, Bumthang Dzongkhag 9. Ms. Rebecca Pradhan, RSPN 10. Mr. Ugyen Tenzin, Chief Programme Officer, DDM, MoHCA 11. Ms Karma Doma Tshering, Chief Programme Officer, DDM, MoHCA 12. Mr. Chencho Tshering, Project Manager, DDM, MoHCA 13. Mr. Jiro Komori, JICA Expert/Technical expert, JICA/JOCV, Bhutan 14. Mr. Phuntsho Tshering, Department of Geology and Mines. 15. Mr. Karma Drupchu, Project Manager, HMSD, Department of Energy,MoEA 16. Mr. Thinley Namgyel, National Environment Commission 17. Ms. Tshewang Dema, Gross National Happiness Commission 18. Ms. Kuenzang L Sangay, Gross National Happiness Commission 19. Mr. Pema Gyelpo, Tarayana Foundation 20. Ms. Jigme Choki, DEO, Punakha Dzongkhag 21. Mr. Thinley Wangchuk, SNV, Bhutan 22. Mr. Sonam Tobgay, Bhutan Broadcasting Service(BBS) 23. Mr. Kuenzang Thinley, Bhutan Broadcasting Service(BBS) 24. Ms. Phuntsho Choden, Kuensel 25. Mr. Rajeev Issar, UNDP BCPR, Delhi 26. Mr. Karma Rapten, UNDP Bhutan 27. Ms. Anne Erica Larsen, UNDP Bhutan 28. Mr. Karma Chogyel, UNDP Bhutan 29. Ms. Sonam Rabgye, UNDP Bhutan 30. Ms. Shairi Mathur, RC Office, UNDP Bhutan 31. Mr. Kinley Penjor, UNDP Bhutan Annex: 2 Group 2 Team members: Representative from 1. DEO, Punakha Dzongkhag 2. Mr. Ugyen Tenzin, CPO, DDM, MoHCA 3. Ms Kuenzang Lham, GNHC 4. Mr Chimi Wangchuk, DEO, Bumthang Dzongkhag Administration 5. DFO, Wangdue phodrang Dzongkhag 6. Kuensel 7. College of Natural Resources, Lobaysa Topic for discussion: COLLECTION/COMPILATION OF HAZARDS/DISASTERS FROM VARIOUS SOURCES – BUILDING A DATABASE. Guiding points: 1. How do we start to build a hazard/disaster database? 2. Mention various available sources-e.g. media, government documents, word of mouth, etc 3. What indicators or parameters are to be included on the website? 4. Operational issues related to database website. 5. Anchor- at National level 6. Anchor at district level. 7. How to make the website dynamic? 8. Training needs for operators. Group 2 Team Members: Representative from 1. Ms Karma Doma, DDM, MoHCA 2. Mr Thinley Namgay, National Environment Commission (NEC) 3. National Land Comission ( Mr Shankar or Mr Sonam Dargay) 4. Mr. Phuntsho Tshering, DGM, MoEA 5. Dr. Jiro Komori, JICA Expert/JICA/JOCV Bhutan 6. Mr. Karma Drupchu, HMSD, Department of Energy Topic for discussion: Hazard Vulnerability Risk (HVR) Assessment for hydro- meteorological hazards Guiding points: 1. Try to develop a methodology for HVR assessment for hydro-meteorological hazards. 2. Do we have enough technical competencies within the country to carry out this task- if so identify technical agencies and experts who can carry out HVR assessment? 3. Once such assessments are done, how do we publish or disseminate the reports? 4. Also how do we make best use of the information generated- use in planning, management and developmental process etc? 5. Initially, such HVR assessment will be done only in one district. Once this is done, how do we scale up? 6. Capacity building needs to carry out HVR assessment? Group 3 Team Members: Representative from 1. Health Ministry 2. Mr Chencho Tshering, CPO, DDM, MoHCA 3. Dasho Namgay Dorji, SP-Punakha, RBP 4. Ms Tshewang Dema, GNHC 5. Ms Rebecca Pradhan, RSPN 6. Mr. Pema Gyelpo, Tarayana Foundation 7. Ministry of Education 8. Mr. Thinley Wangchuk, SNV Bhutan 9. Major Tashi Tenzin, Disaster Focal Person, Royal Bhutan Army Topic for discussion: Community-based Climate Risk Reduction, Mitigation, Preparedness and Intervention Building. Guiding points: 1. Identify some low cost local level risk reduction and preparedness measures 2. Community based natural resources management- forestation, mountain eco- system, water-shed management, using traditional/ indigenous methods etc 3. Land use management practices 4. Identification or formation of search and rescue team at Geog level as well as at district level. For e.g At a district level, can RBP and RBA personal make up the district search and rescue team. 5. The first medical response teams both at Geog and District level. 6. Modules on disaster management for school curricula. Will this help? If so, how do we go about? 7. Along with modules on DM in school curricula, try to look at local BHUs,/hospitals/ clinics/ community centre preparedness and aware of what to do in a disaster situation. 8. Adaptation strategies - Coping mechanism of the community - Building resilience, strengthening response i.e. household savings, micro-credit, women’s self-help groups, alternative livelihoods etc.